The House on Malcolm Street by Leisha Kelly is a thoughtful and moving historical novel. Leah Breckenridge has had a terrible year; first her mother died, then her husband, John, was killed in a tragic train accident, and finally her infant son Johnny died in the flu epidemic. Leah and daughter Eliza are left alone, homeless and broke, and because of a abusive relationship with her father she cannot stay with him, so she hesitantly accepts an invitation from John's aunt Marigold to stay with her in her boarding house. Eliza thrives with Aunt Mari's faith filling the house, but Leah is still angry with God for taking away those she loved. Aunt Mari's other border is Josiah Walsh, a childhood friend of John's who also lost his wife and their unborn child in a tragic accident. Mari hopes that the two can help heal the other's wounds, but both are too caught up in their own grief to reach out. Kelly's novel isn't exactly a romance, but it is poignant and heart-felt. Readers will ache for both Leah's and Josiah's loss, and while Leah's secret may be obvious to readers, it's revelation is still profound. There are several storylines loose at the end of the novel, will Saul and Mari's relationship last the prejudice of their neighbors? Will Josiah and Leah move forward to love? I hope that Kelly gives readers a sequel answering these questions and giving another look at the Kurcher family as well.
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Christy Lockstein (ChristysBookBlog1)
I'm a happily married mother of three. I review books daily on my blog Christy's Book Blog. I love to read, and I love the Lord. Those four things really define my life.
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Leah Breckenridge finds herself at the end of her rope in the fall of 1920 after first burying her husband and then her young son. Out of options, Leah and her six-year-old daughter become dependent on the mercy of an aunt whom neither of them have ever met. Shaken by the hand that she feels she has been dealt, Leah is angry with God and has all but decided that she is completely alone in this world. To top it all off, Leah is haunted by a recurring nightmare about a train, a vision that leaves her panting on the floor or utterly paralyzed with dread. Kelly skillfully lays the trestle for an emotional look into the past in the hope of moving forward to a better future. Through Leah’s journey on the road to healing, Kelly’s tale inspires readers to believe what we all hope for: that redemption is available for all and that it can reside in unsuspecting places. --Elizabeth Ponder